SiliconFilter

Google Adds 11 More Deal Sites to its Google Offers Network

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Google has been quietly expanding its network of parters for its daily deals service Google Offers since it first launched last year. Today, the company is announcing that 11 new partners are joining its platform. These new partners are 8Moms, APDailyDeals, AT&T Interactive, Boston.com, DailyDeals.com, DoubleTakeDeals, Half Off Depot, Morgan’s Deals, Savored, Signpost and Urban Dealight. In addition, Google also announced that it is bringing it "full slate" of partners to Austin, Houston, Philadelphia and Miami today.

Out of the 40 cities where Google offers is currently available, customers in 23 of these now get offers from the company's partners in addition to Google's own offers.

In its announcement, Google explicitly acknowledges that in order to bring its users the best deals, it needs to work with partners. At the same time, though, it's also clear that these smaller niche sites need bigger partners to have any chance in succeeding in a market that is dominated by Groupon and LivingSocial.

Maybe the most interesting of these new partners is Signpost (which, it is worth noting, is partly funded by Google Ventures). The company sets up online stores for small businesses and also works with its customers to set up daily deal campaigns.



8:55 am


The Microsoft Punchard: Bing Wants to Bring Loyalty Back to Daily Deals

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Daily deals weren’t much of a category two years ago and the oversaturation of the market today threatens to push it back into obscurity once more. One of the reasons why many vendors are tired of Groupon, LivingSocial and similar programs is that they don’t actually generate a lot of repeat business. Consumers just move on to the next deal instead. Microsoft wants to change this. As part of the full launch of its Bing Deals daily deals aggregation service today, the company is also rolling out a loyalty program called the Microsoft Punchard Program. The new Bing Deals will also allow merchants to offer their own deals directly through Bing.

Turning Deal Hunters into Loyal Customers

According to Microsoft’s director for its Microsoft Advertising division, “deals will no longer be a one-time engagement, but rather, the Microsoft Punchcard Program will integrate a loyalty program tied to the deal that gets better with more engagement.” The idea here is that the deal – if managed through Bing’s Business Portal – will actually get better as you go back to the merchant. I’ve asked Microsoft for some clarification on how this program will work from a customer’s perspective and will update this post once I hear more.

Accelerated Deals

Bing is also giving merchants the ability to bring some of the original “group buying” spirit of the daily deals business. With its new “accelerated deals,” local stores can set up deals that become more valuable once a certain threshold of customers has bought a coupon.

In addition to all of this, Bing is also introducing the ability for local merchants to offer deals “in partnership with local schools with a percentage of the proceeds going towards schools’ fund-raising efforts.”

This new program is scheduled to roll out in 12 cities across the U.S. in the near future. Those cities and regions are: Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas Fort Worth, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Southern Oregon (Southern Oregon being the odd one out here, given that’s it’s not exactly a metropolitan area, but Microsoft plans to test the fund-raising aspect of this new program there).

Internet users will be able to find these deals when they search or look for deals on Bing.



4:08 pm



AT&T Launches Most Boring Groupon Clone Yet

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Now that Google, Facebook, the New York Times and virtually every other company has launched some form of daily deals/group-buying site, AT&T is joining the fray today as well. According to Bloomberg, AT&T’s Groupon clone is launching in Los Angeles, Atlanta and Dallas-Forth Worth  “within the coming weeks.” The service is hosted on AT&T’s YellowPages.com. If you sign up within the next twenty days, you will get a $10 credit towards your first purchase (which makes me think the service is launching somewhere around May 22nd).

yp_deals_att-yellowpages

Innovation? Nope…

It’s hard not to look at AT&T’s site and wonder what it’s going to do that’s different from its competitors. Judging from what’s on the site right now, the answer is: zero. “The deals of the day are about solving everyday needs. Offers that make it easier to take the family out to dinner at that cute new diner. Finally dry-clean your wedding dress. Or get your car detailed after last month’s disastrous coffee run.”

Indeed, none of the recent Groupon clones have improved over the original model or brought any meaningful innovation to this space besides expanding the general concept into new niches (travel, shoes etc.). Facebook’s service is a bit more social (though that really only means it’s easier to share deals on Facebook), Google Offers is about as direct a clone as it could be, but in general, the idea is still the same and the sites often still hold up the pretense that these are “group-buying” sites and not just straight-up deals sites.

It’s hard not to imagine that consumers (and merchants) will soon get tired of this and restrict themselves to two or three general sites (Groupon, LivingSocial and maybe Google’s or Facebook’s offering) and another one or two niche services.



1:02 pm